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Old 05-20-2016, 08:31 PM
 
6 posts, read 3,458 times
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We currently live in Milwaukee, WI and are looking to make a move to a warmer climate. We've narrowed it down to North Carolina - though still deciding between Charlotte and Raleigh - and Austin, TX. We've been to Austin and know what we consider pros and cons of the location but we're pretty uniformed about North Carolina. Neither my husband nor I have ever had a chance to visit. Currently my husband has job prospects in all 3 cities and we're looking to make the move in time to get settled in before the new school starts. So it's crunch time!

Any opinions on why Charlotte would be a better choice than Raleigh or vice-versa?

We're taking a trip there next weekend to see how/if we like it. What should we see? What should we do? What should we experience? If you were trying to convince a friend to move to the area where would you take them? Any hidden gems we should know about?

We have 3 young children and I'm a stay at home mom so we definitely would like to know about family-friendly locations/activities but we also enjoy date nights and girls/guys night outs so any info on that would be helpful as well. We also enjoy outdoor activities so are excited about the closer proximity to beaches and mountains but would like to know what other fun things there are to do.

Oh, and any advice about schools and suburbs to check out would be much appreciated!

We are spending 2 days in Charlotte and 2 in Raleigh so we welcome any comments on either city.
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Old 05-20-2016, 09:36 PM
 
Location: The place where the road & the sky collide
21,880 posts, read 27,145,371 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElizAnne View Post
We currently live in Milwaukee, WI and are looking to make a move to a warmer climate. We've narrowed it down to North Carolina - though still deciding between Charlotte and Raleigh - and Austin, TX. We've been to Austin and know what we consider pros and cons of the location but we're pretty uniformed about North Carolina. Neither my husband nor I have ever had a chance to visit. Currently my husband has job prospects in all 3 cities and we're looking to make the move in time to get settled in before the new school starts. So it's crunch time!

Any opinions on why Charlotte would be a better choice than Raleigh or vice-versa?

We're taking a trip there next weekend to see how/if we like it. What should we see? What should we do? What should we experience? If you were trying to convince a friend to move to the area where would you take them? Any hidden gems we should know about?

We have 3 young children and I'm a stay at home mom so we definitely would like to know about family-friendly locations/activities but we also enjoy date nights and girls/guys night outs so any info on that would be helpful as well. We also enjoy outdoor activities so are excited about the closer proximity to beaches and mountains but would like to know what other fun things there are to do.

Oh, and any advice about schools and suburbs to check out would be much appreciated!

We are spending 2 days in Charlotte and 2 in Raleigh so we welcome any comments on either city.
This is too vague to give you useful answers. The geographic areas are large. What is your housing budget? I promise you, we don't care, but if you are looking for $250K suggestions of areas that are $400K are a waste of time. Do you want acreage, old or new, small town, large town, country? How long do you want the commute to be? What part of Raleigh & what part of Charlotte are the jobs in?
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Old 05-21-2016, 10:36 AM
 
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There are countless C-D threads and a stick thread (READ FIRST IF NEW TO THE FORUM) Read if you are asking about where to live in North Carolina that should answer some of your questions.

With three children, I'd focus on schools I were you.

Are you in the private school bracket or are you looking at public school for your kids?

Choose districts/schools that sound appealing and walk through the schools, the neighborhoods. Where do you feel at home?
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Old 05-21-2016, 11:14 AM
 
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I'd pick the Triangle (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill). My family is from Texas and only one has not moved away. Charlotte has a better airport, but no major universities or university based health care. As far as housing, IMO the Triangle is having a bubble.
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Old 05-21-2016, 01:28 PM
 
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Can I ask what makes you want to move to either Charlotte or Raleigh, besides the warmer climate? Is the climate your main reason for wanting to leave? It's not a criticism -- I'm just genuinely asking. A lot of people do the same thing. Both cities are great and very different from most cities in WI. However, with three kids, you'll reallllly want to research school districts. Good/great public schools can be found, but you might pay a premium for housing within those districts. Especially right now. There are a lot of charter schools too, but the lottery competition to get into them is crazy difficult (and will get worse every year with the rapidly expanding population). Private schools are also available, but the best ones are highly competitive to get into and costly.
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Old 05-21-2016, 08:54 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly DC and Phila
8,555 posts, read 12,622,593 times
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Originally Posted by BlessedLife View Post
Can I ask what makes you want to move to either Charlotte or Raleigh .
She answers this in her original post: "Currently my husband has job prospects in all 3 cities and we're looking to make the move in time to get settled in before the new school starts."
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Old 05-21-2016, 09:43 PM
 
Location: Chapelboro
10,626 posts, read 11,214,610 times
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What field does your husband work in and are the job prospects with different companies or the same job with different offices of the same company?

If he's in tech, biotech, healthcare, or academia his prospects should he need or want to change jobs are better in the Triangle. If he's in finance his prospects are better in Charlotte. But there are some of all kinds of jobs in both places. Bank of America and Wells Fargo are in Charlotte, but Fidelity is in the Triangle.

Schools in general are a little better in the Triangle, but there are plenty of good individual schools in Charlotte and plenty of crappy ones in the Triangle. If you look at the districts as a whole the Triangle wins out, but your kids are only going to one school at a time.

While you're here, I'd take kids to the North Carolina Museum of Life & Science in Durham (more than just one building and lots of outdoor play spaces and exhibits with lots of animals). It's a fun place for kids and grown-ups too. Museum of Life and Science: Know Wonder

Last edited by poppydog; 05-21-2016 at 09:57 PM..
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Old 05-22-2016, 03:49 AM
 
6,270 posts, read 9,995,686 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElizAnne View Post
If you were trying to convince a friend to move to the area where would you take them? Any hidden gems we should know about?
I'd take any first-time visitor to Carowinds or the US Whitewater Center. Both are located in Charlotte. Charlotte also has the edge when it comes to shopping options (Concord Mills Mall, Charlotte Premium Outlets, Northlake Mall, Metropolitan at Midtown, South Park Mall, Carolina Place Mall).

As for girls/guys night's out, downtown Charlotte (locally called "uptown" Charlotte) is a one-stop all incusive destination. Clubs, restaurants, plays, concerts, and sporting events (NBA/NFL and minor league baseball) all take place in downtown Charlotte.

As far as suburban neighborhood options, Charlotte and Raleigh/Durham offers the same there. The only major difference is that Charlotte has South Carolina suburbs within 30 mins of downtown. South Carolina has MUCH cheaper gasoline and no annual vehicle inspection. It's no surprise that York county SC is the most populated suburban county in metro Charlotte. A family can save quite a few dollars annually choosing SC over NC.
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Old 05-22-2016, 08:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by urbancharlotte View Post
I'd take any first-time visitor to Carowinds or the US Whitewater Center. Both are located in Charlotte. Charlotte also has the edge when it comes to shopping options (Concord Mills Mall, Charlotte Premium Outlets, Northlake Mall, Metropolitan at Midtown, South Park Mall, Carolina Place Mall).

As for girls/guys night's out, downtown Charlotte (locally called "uptown" Charlotte) is a one-stop all incusive destination. Clubs, restaurants, plays, concerts, and sporting events (NBA/NFL and minor league baseball) all take place in downtown Charlotte.

As far as suburban neighborhood options, Charlotte and Raleigh/Durham offers the same there. The only major difference is that Charlotte has South Carolina suburbs within 30 mins of downtown. South Carolina has MUCH cheaper gasoline and no annual vehicle inspection. It's no surprise that York county SC is the most populated suburban county in metro Charlotte. A family can save quite a few dollars annually choosing SC over NC.
I appreciate the responses, but this is more the type of info I was looking for. I will definitely add some of these to my list of places to see while we're there. Thanks urbancharlotte!

Right now our challenge is trying to choose between NC and Austin. And that decision needs to be made quickly. After that we can narrow down specifics about neighborhoods and commute time, etc. So at this point we really just want to see the best of what each city has to offer with our limited time there.

I'm not so much looking for help with finding a job or a neighborhood to live in but more if anyone had any experience with both cities and could say that as a general rule schools are better in Charlotte or traffic is better in Raleigh, etc. Or even if you're not familiar with both cities - what suburbs are known for great schools or generally are considered great for families in the area you live? Once we're able to put together that information we can then take a look at how we feel about things like commute time because the importance of those issues may be based on how well we like one area over another.

GotHereQuickAsICould - Thanks for the link! We would most likely be looking at public schools but are not opposed to considering private if none of the public schools were rated well.

Thanks everyone for your input. Fingers crossed that our visit will help us to decide!
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Old 05-22-2016, 10:06 PM
 
6,270 posts, read 9,995,686 times
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If you're not borderline rich (I'm certainly NOT rich either) here's a few fun suggestions that's easier on the family's budget. On your Charlotte visit, search for hotels in or near Pineville, NC. Pineville has nice and affordable hotels. Pineville is also a short drive away from Carolina Place Mall, Charlotte Premium Outlets, and South Park Mall.

When you're ready to go to downtown Charlotte, just do a navigation search for "I-485 Station". Your search should direct you to the following...

https://goo.gl/maps/jhUeofeYWQy

Above is a link to the I-485 light rail station. It's only a 25 min train ride into downtown from that particular station near Pineville. If you choose to take transit into downtown, it will help you avoid driving around an unfamiliar downtown area with one-way streets and pedestrian traffic. It's also a different way to see Charlotte. Two adults plus 3 children round trip tickets will cost $15.40 (which is about what you'll spend on gas + parking fees if you choose to drive into uptown). However, I do believe that children under 36 inches tall ride for free. DO NOT quote me on that though. Check with Charlotte Area Transit first to see about the free ride age. The link below has intructions on how to purchase tickets.

Ticket Vending Machines

If you choose to ride the train into downtown, get off at "Arena Station". From there, almost everything that's located downtown is a short walk away. You all could eat, go bowling, or catch a movie at Epicentre. You could also walk the kids over to Discovery Place (a local children's science museum that also has educational I-MAX short films).

There's also Romare Bearden Park downtown.
https://asccharlotte.files.wordpress...n-park-001.jpg.

^^^This park is a popular gathering place for singles and families. You basically just pack a small blanket and a change of clothing for the kids. While they get wet playing with the other kids, mom and dad enjoy their own time laying out on the blanket. The views of Charlotte's skyline from this park are amazing as well. Also keep in mind that there are several restaurant choices near Romare Bearden Park. Honestly, I've been known to buy a bunch of chicken wings and a Big Gulp drink at the 7-eleven beside the park. It's cheap picnic food, but it works sometimes. Not every trip I make into downtown requires spending tons of money.

However, if you do decide to drive into downtown, you can take the kids to Ray's Splash Planet. It is a small county-owned indoor waterpark located on the western edge of downtown. It's fairly affordable due to the fact that it is county funded. Ray's is also one of the few downtown destinations with free parking.

The truth is that you simply won't see all of what Charlotte has to offer in only 2days. Heck, places like Carowinds usually takes 2-3 days worth of visits just to ride every attraction. I just wanted to come back with some affordable options to check out too. For some kids and adults, just riding a light rail train and a downtown streetcar is a novelty. It's all about perspective. If you have any questions about the Charlotte area, feel free to ask.
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